Recently there has been an increasing number of ATM scams surfacing. Scammers are installing equipment on legitimate bank ATMs to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN from customers.
These ATM scams are highly effective and have accounted for millions of dollars worth of money scammed.
The equipment that these scammers use to capture your ATM card number and PIN is carefully disguised to look like normal ATM equipment.
A credit card “skimmer” is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot which reads the ATM card number and either stores or transmits the number to the scammers. This card reader “skimmer” is designed to fit into the ATM and be relatively undetectable.
Once in place it’s very difficult to tell that a skimmer is attached to the ATM machine. Any cards used in this machine will have their magnetic strip recorded and the scammers will be able to use this information to create a “clone” of this card using a magnetic strip writer.
The scammers can take things even further and install a pamplet box containing a concealed camera to record the user’s PIN number. The camera installed in this pamplet box is relatively undetectable and can be used to record the users PIN number. Once the scammer has the magnetic card info and the PIN number they can encode a blank card and use this card and PIN number to withdraw money from this person’s account.
This setup is virtually undetectable even with both the pamplet box and magnetic strip skimmer in place.
Look at the picture above, there is only one subtle difference between the regular ATM on the left and the ATM on the right with the skimmer installed. Notice that the card slot where you insert your ATM card no longer dents inward, instead it bulges out? This is because there is a skimmer in place which will read your ATM card.
The skimmer will still allow the ATM to function normally, but it will read the information off the card and the scammer will be able to swipe the magnetic strip encoding when the card is placed into the slot and then create a clone of your ATM card.
The Lebanese Loop Trick
Another trick that Scammer’s use to physically steal your ATM card is known as the Lebanese Loop Trick.
The Lebanese Loop consist of a strip or sleeve of metal or plastic (such as x-ray film or VCR tape) that is inserted into the ATM’s card slot. When the victim inserts their ATM card, the loop prevents the card being drawn into the machine, fooling the user into believing the machine has malfunctioned or retained their card.
These Lebanese Loops tend to be made out of thin, black material that can easily blend into the ATM card slot.
The Lebanese Loop is carefully inserted into the ATM card slot. The ends of the strip are folded upwards.
The foldered ends are glued to the outer surface of the ATM card slot, making the Lebanese Loop virtually impossible to detect.
Slits are cut on both sides of the Lebanese Loop to prevent the card from being returned at the end of the transaction. This causes the card to remain in the machine.
Once the ATM user leaves the scammer can now return to the machine and pull down the ends of the loop to retrieve the ATM card and remove it from the slot.
The scammer now has the ATM card and is free to use it provided he was able to record or view the user entering in their PIN number.